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He graduated from the Academy of Antwerp in 1981 and intrepidly opened his own boutique Beauties & Heroes, where he sold his own creations, until he snapped up almost all the prizes at the Golden Spindle contest. The next year, as one of the ‘Antwerp Six’, he proceeded to the British Designer Show in London, and in 1989 took part in their collective show. Later, in 1990-1991, they shared their showroom presentation in Paris. In March 1990 he organized his first show in Paris with the Dirk Van Saene collection.
As a radical aesthete, he is one of the rare designers who ‘attacks’ fashion strictly from tailoring, developing it into a profusion and rapid succession of consequences. One collection may hold a range of ideas which would suffice an entire design career — as he says himself, he gives it everything. Consequently he is sometimes called a man of more than nine lives, capricious, elusive…
Dirk Van Saene approaches fashion ‘ad hoc’, adhering closely to its essence: couture. Moreover, he works with a drive that shrugs aside any intellectuel or ‘mythical’ approach. Should there be any imagery or dialectic in his collections, it will invariably be ironic or qualifying. At his first show in Paris for Winter 1990-1991, his staff wore T-shirt bearing his name, misspelt in different ways.